Friday Fun

Friday; the last day of the working week for some and others just another day on the calendar. The sun is shining, the breeze is pleasant so decisions need to be made. I could have slipped over to the lawn bowls rink for a few ends; although they banned me because of my “over-arm” action. I could have spent the day in the garden, except I’ve done my 2 days gardening for the year already, so it was definitely hit the waves time.

Robyn, our photographer, Steve and myself strapped the surf kayaks to the roof and set off for a quick fun paddle. The view along the local coast showed some nice wave sets coming in and quite a few surfers in the water.

Looking south along the coast

We were quickly into a few waves with Steve demonstrating his ability to take off on the most steep part of the wave and sometimes make it through to the green section, although not all the time.

Steve takes off steep and fast

Sometimes a steep and fast take off works….but not always

Steve saves himself again

Ian going hard on a nice green wave

The waves were interesting to paddle with continuous sets coming in, making it hard work just to get out the back. Of course not all things went to plan all the time and there were a few got dumpings that made sure your sinus cavity was clear.

Steve tries a 360 maneuver and ends up doing a back loop.

Sometimes things can get a little crowded even with just the 2 of us paddling for a wave.

Steve ready to drop in as Ian tries a steep take off

Ian goes down the line and then…..

I think that one hurt a bit

Occasionally you get trashed by one wave, rolling up to get the same treatment again

Ready for another smashing wave

But it’s all smiles as we head for home.

That put a smile on his dial

Coffee shop bound

Just another Friday morning…… PaddlingSouth,

He who dies with the most toys wins !!!

He who dies with the most TOYS wins !!! or maybe it’s He who has the most FUN wins !!!.

I’m not really sure which one is true but I think that I am having a bet each way. Maybe it’s the competitive streak coming out in us older paddlers. They say that when you get to a certain age you tone down the “competitive streak” in your personality. Maybe that’s true for some, but it seems not true of some “PaddlingSouth”. Even if we cant compete at a high level anymore or have the stamina for ultra marathon journeys we still want to WIN.

When riding road bikes we would never consider drafting someone for miles and then attacking as the finishing line approaches or ganging up on someone in the final sprint. There would be no competition for the best wave when surf kayaking or the last pasty at the cafe. Well maybe sometimes; OK ..ALWAYS.

But there is one area that I try to have a clear lead and that is TOYS….and here’s another one for the toybox.

My new toy....Mega Surf ON

My new toy….Mega Surf ON

After years of paddling all sorts of surf and WW kayaks in ocean surf I recently acquired a Mega Surf ON. This is a great craft for just having fun, but is still a solid performer having the same hull as the Mega Bullitt kayak. My old bones are just loving it.

Mega Surf ON

Mega Surf ON… out for a quick surf.. it was only a tiny swell but we still had FUN

Small but at least they were clean

Small but at least they were clean

Like the new hat ? Not really a toy but my new Ocean paddling Hat from our local kayak shop stays on in all conditions, even when rolling in the surf. Have to be Sun Smart with temperatures around 32° C.

Of course I’m not the only one having fun in the surf.

Steve in his new toy

Steve in his new toy

I’m not the only one with a passion for new toys. Robyn our hard working photographer, is the owner of a new Fatbike. 5″ tyres and lots of gears makes it perfect for zipping along the beach with her camera, tackling the sandy tracks in the northern arid lands and superb fun along the 4WD tracks.

Two FatBikes on the beach

Two FatBikes on the deserted beaches at Robe, South Australia.

He who dies with the most toys wins !…if I’m not winning then I must be a close second.
Have Fun…Ian 


Let’s go Boogie – Riot boogie 50 surf kayak

Life’s been a bit busy lately, what with new toys to play with and people wanting help with kayak fitouts and getting in lots of fun paddles.

I was asked to fit new footrests in a Riot Boogie 50, a surf kayak that I hadn’t paddled before, so I was fully booked for another day. The Boogie 50 comes with foam wedge blocks that are to be cut to the appropriate length for the paddler. Yes the system works, well for some people anyway, but I find them quite limiting when a couple of people want to share the kayak.

IMG_8412Originally the Riot Boogie 50 was set up for adjustable footrests,such as “Footstops”, as the mouldings for them are still in the kayak deck. Again, I find that style less than ideal in a surf kayak so I purchased a set of “Jackson Happy Feet” that would set up the kayak nicely.

First job was to remove the centre foam block ,which is easy after removing the securing tab in the deck and whacking sideways with a large rubber mallet. Then I cut the block to the leg length of the paddler so that it allowed  more heel space. Next it was simply a matter of using some of the surplus hard foam foot wedges, cut to size, to fill most of the kayak bow and then insert the Jackson Happy Feet inflatable footrests. Reinsert the centre foam pillar into the kayak, again with a rubber mallet, re-secure the pillar and your’e ready to inflate the footrests and set them in place.

If you haven’t come across Jackson Happy Feet before, follow this link to check them out. An absolutely brilliant system for getting a solid footrest into any surf or playboat.  I got the Happy Feet from Canoes Plus in Victoria, Australia, who are also the retailer for the Riot Boogie 50 and Jackson Kayaks.

Of course to check out my handy work I needed to hit the water. The local surf was tiny however it was big enough to check out the footrest adjustment and the kayak. The gallery at the bottom shows me in the yellow Riot Boogie and Rodney in a green Jackson Fun, having lots of fun on a beautiful Autumn day.

The Boogie is an older surf kayak design, however I was impressed by it characteristics, being stable to paddle and quite comfortable with an integrated seat and backrest. I managed an hour playing around in small surf and was able to get excellent speed with the 3 fins moved to a forward position. It also rolled easily as I found out when lacking a little concentration as a wave dumped on me. The polyethylene construction, combined with its solid handling characteristics, makes it an ideal choice for beginner to intermediate surf paddlers. The low volume tail, sharp rails on the back and long roomy front end, provides lots of carving power and allows for paddlers of all sizes.  In fact I liked it so much I think I will add one to my toy box very shortly…..Happy Paddling ….Ian

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 Kayak Spedifications

Length Width Weight Cockpit Dims Volume
7’9” 24.7” 36.3 lbs 32” x 17” 50 US gal
236 cm 63 cm 16.5 kg 81 x 43 cm 189 L
›› Surfing powerseat
›› Customizable foam footblocks
›› Drainplug
›› Molded-in padded knee pockets
›› Two rubber grab loops

The beach perspective

The wind was picking up a little and the temperature had dropped a degree or two as I stood on the headland watching the wave sets roll in. I could see the low pressure front on the horizon and knew I probably had an hour or more before it hit. I really wanted to get out for a kayak surf but there was just that hint of doubt about the conditions.

There were regular sets of thick waves coming through, so I sat and watched for a while. I could see the shore break booming onto the beach and knew that it would take good timing to break out off the beach but it looked manageable.View from the cliff top

I wandered over to Rhino rock and checked out the swell. Certainly looked manageable from here, high up on the headland.

Rhino rock

Rhino rock

Maybe it would be better in the small bay the other side of Camel rock.

Camel Rock

Camel Rock

Sure; it seemed a little on the  “big fat wave” side of things but manageable. These waves are big, fat and hugely powerful but that means that the ride is fast, furious and sometimes a bit scary. I grabbed the kayak off the car and got my gear ready.

Maybe I should just check out that shore break from down on the beach. Get that “beach perspective”. Yep; check out the “BP” and maybe be a little on the cautious side seeing we are surfing the Southern Ocean swells direct from Antarctica.

They crash onto the craggy headlands and bays around this area of Southern Australia, which I suppose is why the area is known as the Shipwreck Coast.

I walked down to the lower track towards the bay to check out the shore break ”BP” just as a nice set came in.

Nice sets...but that's only the shore break

Nice sets…but that’s only the shore break

Down on the beach for the "BP"

Down on the beach for the “BP”



Errr..... maybe not today

Errr….. maybe not today

Hmmmm………….maybe it’s one of those days when you just need to give it a miss and hang out with the locals.

Chatting with a local

Chatting with a local


Surf kayak review–Jackson FUN

I eventually finished a more formal review of the Jackson FUN having paddling it as a surf kayak for over 4 months now. Initially it took some time to get used to, as it is much looser than surf kayaks that I have been into for years. It was like returning to my origins in surf kayaking when we paddled any kayak in the surf, not what was specifically designed for ocean wave surfing. See my first paddle comments here.

IMG_3291    Easy take-off   Fun on small reef break waves

The beginners perspective.
If you are just starting out in surf kayaking this kayak is a really a winner. It is stable and easy to get out through the break with reasonable directional stability for a playboat. When paddling out through broken waves the FUN maintained stability and allowed you to lift up and over the white water simply by leaning back to raise the bow.

On a wave the the FUN was easy to get into the wave take-off area and quite predictable when dropping down a steep face. The beginners who paddled the FUN started off on smaller waves to get the feel of the kayak but were soon confident on larger waves. The kayak has a flat, planing hull design meaning that aggressive leans or stern rudder strokes may cause the stern to break loose. An unintentional 180 degree spin into a back surf is a little disconcerting for beginners but soon most paddlers have it under control.

Intermediate perspective
The Fun is just that, a lot of fun. The comfortable cockpit and easily adjusted outfitting means paddlers are happy to stay out for hours, pulling 360 spins, backsurfs, cartwheels (intentional and unintentional)  and generally having a great time.

This playboat is easy to handle and allows you to try lots of manoeuvres with confidence and when it doesn’t work the FUN is easy to roll. As with most playboats the low volume stern and bow allow ease of manoeuvring, however you still need to drive this kayak or it will break loose on larger wave faces.

top turn and over     Nice top turns

Comparison to specialised surf kayaks

It really does come down to what you want to achieve in surf kayaking. If you are looking for a kayak that equals a surfboard or wave ski then you need to look at the specialised craft. This is a white water playboat being used in the surf and is an excellent craft for playing in waves and having fun. Just a fantastic kayak to paddle when the surf is not so good and you’re looking for a way to have fun and get wet.

Jackson Kayak Specs.
Length 2.03m     Width 68 cm     Volume 238 litres     Capacity 75-100 kg

Paddler 1
Height   170cm
Weight   90 kg (or more after Easter)
Experience  Many years paddling sea kayaks and surf kayaks

Great Fun kayak. A great change from more specialist surf kayaks but especially good when surf was smaller allowing me to still have fun on manoeuvres like 360 spins, catwheels and backsurfs not possible with other surf kayak.

Loved the ease of adjustment on the backrest and the Happy Feet footrests.
Lots of fun to be had even when the surfs not so good.

Backrest cords are a bit of a pain dangling on my legs, but I would soon fix that.

Lots of FUN. Very comfortable outfitting and would recommend to anyone.

Paddler 2
Height 175 cm
Weight 76 kg
Experience  Beginner in playboats and surf kayaks

Had great fun every time I paddled out. Started on smaller waves and soon got the hang of the FUN. I was able to get some nice waves and 360 spins as well great slides down larger green wave faces. Thoroughly recommended as a great FUN kayak.

Very predictable and forgiving handling when the wave closed out on me.  It is easy to roll which gave me confidence to go for bigger waves or faster manoeuvres. Loved the easy adjustment on the backrest making it easy to do a quick launch, paddle out and then tighten backrest.

I would put some sort of grab loop on the rear handle as it was hard to hold onto as I climbed over rocks to get back up the beach.

Very impressed with this kayak in the surf. Just lots of FUN and will definitely be looking to purchase.